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Bowyer : 'It feels good to be competitive again'
BUY TICKETS: See the Daytona 500 live! DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- It wasn't quite the Daytona 500 pole position -- although for a while it looked like it might be -- but Clint Bowyer 's fourth-place qualifying effort Sunday afternoon on the Daytona International Speedway high banks was a huge confidence boost for him and for his Stewart-Haas Racing team. Bowyer took over the No. 14 Mobil 1 Ford Fusion for retired great Tony Stewart this season and his first official outing in the car Sunday certainly was noteworthy. And assuring. The 2012 Cup championship runner-up looked stout taking over driving duties for the three-time series champion Stewart -- and held the lead spot on the timing pylon for a good portion of the qualifying session before Hendrick Motorsports teammates Chase Elliott and Dale Earnhardt Jr . topped the mark. Even so, Bowyer was smiling and enthusiastic when qualifying closed. "It's a great effort, considering everything these guys have gone through all season long, switching manufacturers and everything that goes with that,’" Bowyer said of his SHR team. "It was right where they left off and we gained on it." Bowyer , who was signed by the Stewart-Haas organization in 2015 to replace the retiring Stewart, drove for HScott Motorsports last year while "on deck" for the seat. And he suffered through the worst season of his career with not a single top-five finish. The promising start in his first official outing for SHR was exactly the kind of beginning both Bowyer and his team could appreciate. "It's a nice first time out with him and more importantly, I think it's a big progression for Stewart-Haas," crew chief Mike Bugarewicz said. "It says a lot about this company and how hard everybody has worked -- our R&D group, everyone in the body shop, the aero engineers, everybody. "Having two cars in the top 12 (also seventh place Kevin Harvick ) we had a reasonable shot at it. We're happy. This team has been through a lot the past two years and now meeting up with Clint, we're excited and looking forward to working with him. I think we're going to have a lot of fun this year. "When the organization that's been working so hard, sees speed in the car, that's a good thing. And him climbing in for the first time … this gets him pumped up and everyone in the car excited and ready to go." Bowyer has four top-10 finishes in the Daytona 500 , including back-to-back fourth-place efforts in 2009-10. He says this restrictor-plate style of racing is something he said he looks forward to. This opportunity with SHR is something he's ready to seize. 'It's Daytona," Bowyer said of the importance of his efforts. "It feels good to be competitive again. I was down here last year and we were way off the pace. It was crushing because you know deep down you don't even have a chance and when you've got a car like this -- a hot rod like this and a team like this -- I've got a chance.’’ &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Junior annoys in zen room, Bowyer can't sleep, more tweets
Editor's note: Every Friday during the season, "Tweets You Might Have Missed" presents eight of the best NASCAR-related tweets from the week. 1. Couples Massage: to the lady I annoyed in the zen room. If cell phones aren't allowed my robe wouldn't have pockets. — Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) February 14, 2017 2. I saved % on Valentine's Day this year by switching to single — Alex Bowman (@AlexBRacing) February 14, 2017 3. Got some new @YETICoolers to travel with but it seems that Keelan has other thoughts of what should be in the bag.. pic.twitter.com/RYPLdcW5pC — Kevin Harvick (@KevinHarvick) February 16, 2017 4. Off-season training regimen comes to a end... @PaigeKeselowski has me training with 2 hp today on honeymoon 750hp Friday @DISupdates pic.twitter.com/viehEdsHyZ — Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) February 15, 2017 5. My 5:30 wake up alarm. Even on a Saturday??? Come on man! pic.twitter.com/Jw5Bc6fOrV — Clint Bowyer (@ClintBowyer) February 11, 2017 6. 7000ft was the place to be this morning coming home! pic.twitter.com/BC4ZC7vGPY — Chase Elliott (@chaseelliott) February 12, 2017 7. Thank you @tacobell for the goodie bag. We made it ma! If you remember my prank on the interns last year, it's featured on #tacobellclipshow pic.twitter.com/tMupx7iArB — landon cassill (@landoncassill) February 15, 2017 8. On my way to @KernRaceway and we passed under a . That's good luck right!? pic.twitter.com/nPUkgj9mx4 — Kyle Busch (@KyleBusch) February 11, 2017
Behind The Wall: Clint Bowyer - Episode 1
In part 1 of a 3-part mini doc-series for NASCAR Digital and Facebook, we follow Clint Bowyer as he transitions to a new team and prepares for the Daytona 500.
Bowyer 'confident' in ability to win Daytona 500 for SHR
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Clint Bowyer is typically a high-wattage personality, so when he arrived in Florida on Tuesday to tour the Naval Air Station Jacksonville to help promote the upcoming Daytona 500 , he was absolutely in his element. The sailors and airmen were excited to meet the Stewart-Haas Racing driver and he was ecstatic to talk about his legitimately high expectations when the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season gets on track at Daytona International Speedway later this month. "I'm probably as excited for the Daytona 500 in particular -- forget the season starting -- as I've been in a long time," Bowyer said Tuesday from Jacksonville. "I'm as confident in my chances as I've been in a long time. "I think our cars are looking really good. They've been in the wind tunnel, the guys have been working really hard and we're actually going back to the wind tunnel to perfect them even more. "So the commitment to the plate racing is something I haven't seen in a while and I'm really excited about the horsepower. Doug Yates has been over to the shop and I've been out-run by his horsepower at these restrictor plate tracks for a few years now so I'm looking forward to reaping the benefits of having one of those under the hood and I think that's how you're going to win this race." Bowyer , 37, has certainly been close enough to hoisting the sport's biggest trophy. He has finished in the top-10 in half of his starts on the superspeedway, including four of the last five Daytona races. He has three top-five finishes including fourth-place runs in the 2009 and 2010 Daytona 500 . Last year Bowyer even salvaged a ninth-place run in the July Daytona race despite driving for an underfunded team, as he waited for his ride at Stewart-Haas to become available in 2017. And now after a season of mostly frustration -- only three top-10s in 2016 -- driving for a lower-tier, now-defunct team, Bowyer will at last take over the steering wheel from his good friend, three-time Cup champ and team owner Tony Stewart in the famous No. 14 Mobil 1 Ford. And for the first time in years, Bowyer feels like all systems are a go. "I'm not blowing smoke when I say I really am confident about my chances at that race," he said about the Daytona 500 . "I've gotten close several times at that race. It's one of those tracks you feel like, 'Darn it, I'm gonna win this some day.' I think the cars are looking good in my favor. The equipment I've got underneath me is the best I've had in a long time and the commitment to winning not only (at Daytona) but everywhere is something I haven't seen in a long time and I'm looking forward to having that to my advantage." As for his visit to Florida this week, Bowyer enjoyed his time spending a day with servicemen. And he offered a heartfelt reminder that fans can show their appreciation for these men and women too -- donate $3, $5, or $10 to the Ticket for the Troops programs and Daytona International Speedway will match the money in its efforts to send military members and their families to the "Great American Race" on Feb. 26. And Bowyer is hopeful that means they will have a chance to see him again -- standing tall and celebrating loudly in Daytona's Victory Lane. "I really don't know what I'd do if I won the Daytona 500 ," Bowyer said. "But this is one of the best opportunities I've ever had and the confidence is as high as it's ever been. "It felt good to talk racing again, talk about the season and talk to the media. The biggest thing having these interviews kind of tells me is maybe the media is thinking I do have a chance at not only running well but winning a few of these races. I'm looking forward to getting down there to Daytona, getting in the saddle and working with my teammates and coming up with a good package and a good plan to put ourselves in contention." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;&lt;span _rtetemp=&quot;spchk&quot; style=&quot;background-color: #ffffaa;&quot; _rtespchksugg=&quot;Lt"alt"ult"flt"let"lit"lat"lot"ltd"t&quot;&gt;am&lt;/span&gt;p;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Bowyer gears up for 'best opportunity' with Stewart-Haas
RELATED: First look at paint schemes of 2017 CONCORD, N.C. -- There's been plenty for Clint Bowyer to adjust to in the brief time that he's officially been a member of Stewart-Haas Racing 's driver roster. He's had to acclimate himself to the way that his new team operates. He's also had to become more familiar with the personnel on the No. 14 Ford that Bowyer will drive in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2017. A helpful hand from his new crew chief, Mike Bugarewicz, has helped Bowyer adjust to both of those new concepts. When Bowyer half-jokingly asked Bugarewicz if he had a team roster to keep him from addressing his crewmembers with, "Hey, buddy," or similar salutations, the second-year crew chief unexpectedly delivered. "He's such a dedicated person and so prepared, he literally went and took pictures of all the guys and e-mailed me the names of them," Bowyer said Wednesday during a preseason media event at the sprawling Ford Performance Technical Center. "I'm like, 'Man, you didn't have to do that. I could've come down.' " At which point Tony Stewart , his team owner and predecessor in the No. 14, interjected: "He says he didn't need that. He needed that, trust me." Laughing aside, Bowyer continued to underscore his point. "That's the level of dedication that you have at Stewart-Haas," Bowyer said. "And it doesn't just end with Mike, it's all across the board. If you ask for something … you've got to be careful asking for something because it's just done." RELATED: Harvick bullish on changes " Transition to Ford among top story lines The next adjustment that Bowyer may have to make is getting accustomed to relevance, something in short supply even before he was announced Sept. 30, 2015 as the successor to three-time series champion Stewart for the organization's flagship team. Bowyer drove in relative obscurity for Michael Waltrip Racing in its waning days, then languished through a throwaway season in 2016 with the former HScott Motorsports operation as he waited his turn to join SHR. "If he could've clicked his heels three times and made it 2017, he'd have done it in a heartbeat," Stewart said. "But we were all just reminding him: 'Be patient. You've got a lot to look forward to.' And we were hoping that his season would turn around at some point, too, but it didn't work out that way and it wasn't for a lack of effort on their side. "I think the nice thing, though, is -- as odd as this sounds -- I've seen him a lot calmer than I saw him all last year. I don't know that he's ever calm, but you can tell he's excited about what's coming up. He's genuinely excited about getting in the 14 car and that makes us happy, too." RELATED: Stewart at ease in new role at SHR Bowyer's authentic anticipation is attached to what he calls "the best opportunity I've ever had." Not only does the 37-year-old driver now have an avenue to potentially return to Victory Lane for the first time in more than four seasons, he also has the chance to place his name back among the sport's top tier. Bowyer has always been known as one of the most animated and energetic figures in the NASCAR garage. But performance -- or a lack of it, in the case of Bowyer's most recent body of work -- has a way of shuffling even the most engaging figures to the shadows. Bowyer's return to a high-profile ride likely changes both the prevailing perceptions and his exposure level, but the results will need to follow suit. "Here's what I hope -- I sure hope you're watching me," Bowyer said. "At the end of the day, relevancy in this sport is everything and I've lost that a little bit. Not a little bit, a lot. And I felt it and didn't like it. It's up to me to go out and become relevant again, have you watch me and talking about me. "It makes everything better. This is a business. This is racing, but once you race at this level, it becomes a business and it trickles down to everything in your life. We're race car drivers but we do this for a business. From my dirt program, everything, my (car) dealership, it just really trickles down. Every business thing that's happened really feeds off of your success on that race track. I had a bad year and I want to become relevant again. You don't work as hard and you have a hell of a lot more fun." RELATED: Key moments in SHR history Before he embarks on that goal, Bowyer has had fun getting better acquainted with his new surroundings, no doubt aided by Bugarewicz's handy chart. But the jollity has also extended to enjoying the luxuries of championship-level equipment for a change. Bowyer marveled at the comfort and quality of his new carbon-fiber seat, remarking "I feel rich" with regards to the perfectly tailored fit. And in a further illustration of Stewart-Haas' attention to precise details, Bowyer was asked last weekend about his preference for a gearshift handle. When the newest SHR driver reacted with indifference in saying that any handle would do, he was presented with eight possible choices. "I think we have dialed in the right gearshift handle for myself and my success this year," Bowyer said with a wry smile. "If not, we have plenty of extras to go around." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Chase Elliott captures back-to-back Daytona 500 poles
BUY TICKETS: See the Daytona 500 live! RELATED: Full results DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Winning back-to-back Daytona 500 poles is something of a family tradition, as Chase Elliott proved by the skin of his teeth Sunday at Daytona International Speedway . The last driver to take a lap in the second and final round of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying at the 2.5-mile superspeedway, Elliott covered the distance in 46.663 seconds (192.872 mph) to edge Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr . by .002 seconds. The pole was the second straight for Elliott, who led the field to green last year as a Sunoco rookie. It was the third straight for Elliott's crew chief, Alan Gustafson, who won the pole with driver Jeff Gordon in 2015 in Gordon's last year as a full-time driver. With three straight poles as a crew, Gustafson shares a record previously held solely by Ernie Elliott, Chase Elliott 's uncle, who fielded cars driven by former Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Bill Elliott , Chase's father. "Everybody at Hendrick Motorsports has done a lot of work this off-season," said Elliott, who claimed the third Coors Light Pole Award of his career, all at restrictor-plate tracks. "This team definitely has a knack for these plate tracks, as they showed with Jeff Gordon and then last year with here and Talladega (where Elliott also won the pole). "But that stuff doesn't just happen by staying the same, as everybody knows. Everyone is always trying to get better and make their cars better and faster, and the engine shop is always finding new things. So I think that's just proof that they're improving with everybody else and taking that next step, which is really impressive. "I'm happy to be a part of it, and hopefully we can run good next Sunday." Elliott and Earnhardt are the only two drivers locked into their starting spots for next Sunday’s 59th running of the "Great American Race" (2 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). They will lead the field to the green flag in both Can-Am Duel 150-mile qualifying races on Thursday night (7 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) -- Elliott in the first Duel, Earnhardt in the second. Earnhardt is racing for the first time since a concussion sidelined him for the final 18 events of the 2016 season. The satisfaction of locking in a front-row starting position tempered his disappointment at missing the pole by the slimmest of margins. "I certainly would have loved to have gotten a pole, but my boss man (Rick Hendrick) is happy," Earnhardt said. "I just talked to him on the phone, and he's got to be thrilled with having his cars up front." Brad Keselowski qualified third at 192.691 mph and will start on the outside of the front row in Thursday night's first Duel. Clint Bowyer , in his first competitive effort in a Stewart-Haas Racing Ford, will start beside Earnhardt in the second Duel after posting the fourth-fastest speed (192.571 mph). With 36 chartered teams knowing they will race next Sunday, six Open entries are vying for the four remaining berths in the Daytona 500 field. Sunday's time trials brought good news for Brendan Gaughan and Elliott Sadler , who know they will race next Sunday as the two fastest qualifiers among the "go-fast-or-go-homers." Conversely, Jeffrey Earnhardt and Timmy Hill , who posted the two slowest times in the field, can race in the 500 only if they are the fastest Open drivers in their respective Duels. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
First look: See Bowyer in No. 14 Mobil 1 fire suit
MORE: New looks for 2017 Seeing someone other than Tony Stewart in the No. 14 next year is going to look weird for a while. The Stewart-Haas Racing Twitter account is helping preparations by giving us a glimpse of the future. 'Smoke' has driven that number since 2009, when he left Joe Gibbs Racing and the No. 20 to co-found Stewart-Haas Racing . Now that he has retired from full-time competition, Clint Bowyer will pilot the No. 14 Ford in 2017. Wonder what he looks like in a Mobil 1 fire suit? Wonder no more -- just see below. First look at @ClintBowyer in his @Mobil1 uniform. We give it a big . Glad to have you onboard, Clint! #shrFORDward pic.twitter.com/cTZs5Mgeln — Stewart-Haas Racing (@StewartHaasRcng) January 8, 2017 &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Expectations for Bowyer ’s first year at SHR
Clint Bowyer and his new team owner Tony Stewart talk about their expectations for the No. 14 Ford in 2017.
Bowyer , wife Lorra welcome baby girl Presley
NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer and his wife, Lorra, welcomed their second child into the world, keeping a musical theme in their choice of baby names. Bowyer tweeted Friday the arrival of daughter Presley Elizabeth, indicating that "everyone is good" after the delivery. Oh boy am I in trouble now!! World...meet baby girl Presley Elizabeth. Everyone is good! pic.twitter.com/qmeRE397Wm — Clint Bowyer (@ClintBowyer) December 9, 2016 The selection of Presley -- spelled identically to the last name of rock 'n' roll icon Elvis Presley -- pairs nicely with the handle given to Bowyers' son, named Cash Aaron and born Oct. 1, 2014. That calling card happens to pluck Johnny Cash's last name with Elvis Presley's middle name. The 37-year-old driver had announced that the couple was expecting back in June, jokingly lamenting that he was about to lose "our grasp on male dominance w/in the Bowyer household." Bowyer wrapped up his lone season with HScott Motorsports in 2016. He'll drive the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 14 Chevrolet next season, succeeding the retiring Tony Stewart .
Harvick bullish on SHR changes with Ford, Bowyer
The offseason gears of change are still churning at Stewart-Haas Racing with the customary preparations before the new season dawns. But the early plans for SHR this year go far beyond paint schemes and subtle aerodynamic tweaks, and even former NASCAR premier series champion Kevin Harvick has the mildest reservations about how smooth a transition it might be. Harvick addressed Stewart-Haas Racing 's switch from Chevrolet to Ford for 2017 on Thursday after a holiday shopping spree at Ollie's Bargain Outlet in Matthews, North Carolina to help families displaced by fire. Harvick's foundation partnered with the Charlotte Fire Department to host the charitable event for the second straight year. While that relationship continues, Harvick's long-running association with Chevy will end next season when he pilots SHR's No. 4 Ford for the first time. The organization's behind-the-scenes work to bring its four-car fleet under the blue oval banner has been extraordinary, and Harvick says he's cautiously optimistic that the overhaul will go over largely without a hitch. "I think we'd be crazy to think there's not going to be some bumps in the road just because there's a lot of things that are changing," Harvick said. "But I think with the amount of people that we have to go through the transition and do the things that we need to do, I couldn't ask for a better group of people. It's a bunch of racers, and I think it's going to be a long winter, but with a group of racers like we have, we should hopefully fire off where we have been." RELATED: Where do Harvick and Childers rank in driver-crew chief pairings? The move, announced in February, means that Stewart-Haas Racing will no longer rely on an alliance with Hendrick Motorsports for chassis and engines. SHR will have its own in-house chassis developed for the 2017 season plus power from Roush Yates Engines. "I'm sure that the big parts and pieces will have already had a plan to be adjusted right and we have a plan to work toward that," Harvick said, "but I think it'll be all the knickknack stuff that you don't expect that you'll probably have to spend the most time worrying about and coming up with a spur-of-the-moment plan. I think everybody's got a great frame of mind at Stewart-Haas Racing because for us, it's a huge opportunity to kind of step out of that box." RELATED: SHR moving to Ford in 2017 The manufacturer swap isn't the only significant change coming to Stewart-Haas Racing next season. Clint Bowyer will step into the organization's flagship No. 14 as the replacement for team co-owner Tony Stewart , who retired from full-time competition at the end of 2016. The addition to the driver lineup will mark a reunion for both Bowyer and Harvick, who were teammates in the sport’s top series at Richard Childress Racing from 2006-11. "I'm really excited about Clint just because I've known Clint since the first time that he sat in a car at RCR, I was there with him," Harvick said. "So I know a lot about Clint. Clint and I are really good friends, and he is cut from that same Stewart-Haas racer mold that everybody there is pretty much cut by." RELATED: Bowyer eager for move to SHR As for Stewart, Harvick said, there's been little slowing down as he steps away from full-time racing in NASCAR. "You know, I asked Tony, I said, 'So what're you going to do to relax?' " Harvick said. "He's like, 'Relax? I've got to go to this dirt race and that dirt race,' and I'm like, 'I thought the whole point of retirement was to take some time off and unwind,' but apparently it means going to dirt races and sitting on the tractor and plowing up the dirt and making sure it's good for the racers. Sounds like he's going to be a track operator, a promoter, and all the things in between this winter." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;